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Hardin Memorial Health Seeks Monetary Damages for “Frivolous Appeal”

Hardin Memorial Health announced on Oct. 22 that it filed a “Motion to Dismiss and/or Motion to Sanction Frivolous Appeal” with the Kentucky Court of Appeals, seeking monetary damages from Dr. Larry Hall relative to his “frivolous appeal” for the Court of Appeals (COA) to reconsider its decision denying his attempt to stop the sale of HMH to Baptist Health.

At the same time, HMH also filed a Response to Dr. Hall’s Petition for Rehearing. In its response, HMH reiterated why the Court of Appeals was correct both in ruling that Dr. Hall “lacked the necessary standing” to challenge the sale and in accepting the original findings of the Hardin Circuit Court that the sale process was executed legally.

In its filing seeking monetary damages, HMH pointed out that Dr. Hall, after being denied first by the Hardin Circuit Court and then by the Kentucky Court of Appeals, nonetheless requested a third review, freely admitting that the real goal of his continuing litigation has been, since its inception, to “stall the sale” at least in part for political purposes. HMH provided the Court of Appeals with a quote from Dr. Hall’s own “Guest Column” in a recent News Enterprise in which he stated, “We started this suit…in the hope we could stall the sale until after last year’s election.”

In its motion, HMH cited legal precedent that found that similar appeals to block real estate sales “for the purposes of delay or to harass an opponent” were “frivolous.” HMH further argued that Dr. Hall’s Petition for Rehearing was “frivolous” because it contained no new information, no allegation of newly-discovered evidence, no new piece of testimonial or documentary proof or new intervening change in the law.

Rather, said HMH, Dr. Hall, “simply disagrees with the Hardin Circuit Court and the 3-0 decision of the Court of Appeals. Both of these courts ruled against him on every point of law. Nothing has changed, factually or legally, since that time to merit reconsideration, a rehearing, or otherwise altering, amending or disturbing these sound legal rulings.”

As a consequence, HMH said it was seeking monetary damages for Dr. Hall’s prolonged, frivolous legal actions, which have delayed the sale now for over one year.

Among the costs to the hospital, Hardin County and its residents due to the uncertainty created by the litigation and project delays, the HMH motion listed:

  • A $250,000 decrease in HMH Foundation donations from the amount in 2018
  • A loss in market share due to lack of available or usable clinic space, adequate operating room capacity, adequate therapy services, etc.
  • Inability to retain top-shelf physicians in key specialties
  • Difficulty recruiting new physicians
  • Employee pensions have been adversely affected
  • Loss of skilled nursing personnel and a higher turnover rate
  • Delay in equipment and record-keeping upgrades that directly impact patient care
  • Attorney fees and litigation-related costs
  • Delay in starting new projects, such as operating rooms, an ICU expansion, OB-GYN renovations, a cancer center, etc.
  • Delay in replacing or reinvesting in facility systems – i.e. boilers, HVAC, etc.
  • Loss of interest earnings on proceeds of the sale
  • Staff morale/frustration issues
  • Consultant costs associated with the delay
  • Delay in installation and implementation of new computer systems
  • Inability to take advantage of economies of scale with Baptist Health

In an affidavit filed with the HMH Motion and Response, HMH President and CEO Dennis Johnson said that the negative impact of Dr. Hall’s frivolous filings “is enormous, and this litigation and appeal have harmed many of HMH’s 2,800 team members, and the entire region served by HMH.”

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